Millions protest against war across the world

By on February 20, 2003

Five hundred thousand in New York City, more than a million in London, 150,000 in Melbourne, one to two million in Rome, Barcelona and Madrid – and according to estimates, eight to 11.5 million worldwide protested against the looming war in Iraq on Feb. 15 and 16.

In New York City, placards reading “Peace No War” waved around as many chanted, “Hey hey, ho ho. War on Iraq? We say no!”

The rally spread out from 51st to 72nd street. In London, the grounds shook as the U.K’s biggest ever peace march took place. This global anti-war movement is being considered a powerful and an awesome phenomenon. For the first time in history, this movement has gained enormous support before the war has even started.

But, of course, people are quick to dismiss it. A day after the protest, and one can already hear accusations like, “the protest was just wishful thinking. They don’t know what they’re doing.”

Please, at least give the “peaceniks” the benefit of doubt here. Can around twelve million people worldwide not know what they’re doing? That’s a hasty generalization, almost equivalent to saying that the whole population of a certain city is wishful and stupid.

Another question that is often asked: “Do these protests really work? Aren’t they just ignored?”

I think history gives a definite answer to that. The worldwide demonstrations against the Vietnam War played a huge part in forcing America to call it off. The Civil Rights Movement wouldn’t have been successful if it wasn’t for the massive peaceful demonstrations. During the Civil War, Lord Palmerston wanted the British Navy to side with the South, but it didn’t happen, thanks to huge British protests to support the slaves. The list goes on.

The probability that Bush will pay heed to the anti-war protesters and call back the troops in the Persian Gulf seems very slim. That’s another reason to protest; Say no to dictatorship. However, as Quinnipiac’s PrimeFuncMaster Jason Pollens commented, Bush has an obligation to listen to the people, as an “elected” leader. Members of the FUNC, a radical club at Quinnipiac, also attended the rally and found it very inspiring.

One thing remains clear: Bush’s manipulative scare tactics didn’t work on the protestors. The turn-out was much higher than expected.

All of you who couldn’t make it to the rally, I urge you to take action! Join the FUNC at Quinnipiac. Participate in the student protest on March 5. Protest against a war that will endanger Iraqi civilians, along with American troops, just to forward Bush’s imperial plans. As one placard in the NYC rally enthusiastically read: “If you can’t do anything, then Masturbate for Peace!”


About Elham Shabahat